These challenges can only be defeated through the creation and deployment of a cold-storage program that can help ensure a reliable digital grocery-shopping experience.
Building The Best Solution
In this case, the order-storage solution may need to be suitable for use in outdoor environments that can, depending on the location, experience extreme swings in temperature and climactic conditions.
The off-site locations will also have to be fully (and reliably) automated, since there won’t be a staff member available to assist with any questions or difficulties. Again, an experienced manufacturer of cold-storage solutions will be an incredible asset when designing, installing and operating these types of fulfillment locations.
New To eCommerce?
Hand-in-hand with identifying the best strategy, equipment and configuration for the cold-storage environment, there are a number of things that grocery retailers need to consider before they make that leap into building an OGP fulfillment system:
- Without exception, cold food must be kept cold, frozen food kept frozen and fresh food kept fresh. This is critical because studies of online shopping habits indicate that 85% of online orders include produce items, 66% include meat or seafood, and 50% include fresh bakery items.
- Can you manage a surge in online orders? In other words, do you have the capacity to handle the volume if 20 orders arrive in a 15-minute window? The key to answering these questions is knowing whether the cold-storage infrastructure has sufficient capacity, or is able to fit in the confines of available store footprints. Also, is it designed to make the pickup or delivery processes as easy and seamless as possible during high-volume periods?
- The supermarket operator must also address staffing issues. Will there be staff dedicated solely to fulfilling online orders, or will on-site staff perform both online and on-site tasks as their schedules allow? Will the employees receive the proper training in operating, maintaining and troubleshooting the various components in the cold-storage infrastructure for OGP? Supermarket retailers must also be careful not to forsake the needs of their on-site shoppers while trying to optimize the online shopping experience.
The digital grocery-shopping revolution is here. With the trend toward ecommerce and OGP among grocery shoppers indicating wider acceptance, retailers must recognize the changing market conditions and be ready to take advantage of the opportunities presented. However, a successful OGP solution will only be possible if the retailer partners with a cold-storage solutions provider possessing the experience and know-how to create a cold-storage solution that not only meets the unique needs of retailers, but also the demands of their customers.